Reflections: October 2, 2020
Friday of the 16th Week after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. (Ephesians 3:13)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Truth is, the suffering of others is often for our benefit! Consider when you were born: It was painful and a struggle for your mother. Through that struggle, the Lord brought you into this world. Consider how your parents may have suffered while raising you: They worried about you and put up with your sins and mistakes. Consider military members or first responders who may be hurt or even killed, not for their own sake, but for the sake of those they serve.
Think about how God's own Son suffered in order to save us. He gave Himself up to be shamed and scorned and mocked and beaten and crucified and killed. He did that so your sins would be forgiven. He did that so you are saved and have eternal life.
When the Lord sent His preachers out into the world, they suffered many things, often awful things, to bring the Good News of Jesus to people. Paul doesn't mind. He understands that if he suffers for preaching the Gospel, but people hear and believe it, it will all have been worth it. In other words, his suffering was for the benefit of those who hear the Good News of Jesus.
Your pastor is no different. He struggles with the challenges of trying to faithfully preach and care for Jesus' flock. He is often saddened to see when things don't seem to work out. He prays earnestly for the salvation of God's people. It's a battle, but one he is willing to suffer through for your sake.
You see, when we suffer for the good of others, we are learning that they are more important than we are. Our suffering will be used by the Lord for their good. That doesn't always seem fair, but that's exactly how our Old Adam gets crucified and shut down. The new man in Christ rejoices in whatever things we face. That's because in Jesus, we are confident of our victory and new life and we are glad whenever the Lord can use us to be good for others. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Help us that we Thy saving Word In faithful hearts may treasure; Let e'er that Bread of Life afford New grace in richest measure. O make us die to ev'ry sin, Each day create new life within, That fruits of faith my flourish. ("O Holy Spirit, Grant Us Grace" LSB 693, st. 2)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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